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Geologic Controls on Turbidity and Iron Oxide Precipitation, Nassawango Creek, Maryland

This report summarizes how the geologic framework of a Chesapeake Bay tributary influences sediment transport and deposition, resulting in turbid water and increased suspended sediment even during periods of low runoff and discharge. The precipitation of iron oxides during these stages of ultra low flow produce water that is essentially opaque. The resulting limited light attenuation influences the growth and propagation of SAV and other benthic organisms in these blackwater rivers independently of sediment from agricultural processes.

Included in the report are maps of the surficial geology of the Pocomoke River and the network of ditches that drain the whole watershed. There are few ditches in Nassawango Creek; therefore, its base flow and chemistry are most nearly congruent with a pre-dredged watershed.

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